Wednesday 8 June – Private viewing 18.00 – 20.00
Asia House: Studio, Library and Library Annex
Mieko Meguro was born and raised on the Japanese island of Hokkaido and currently lives in New York. She works in various mediums as well as making illustrated book which are an amalgamation of English children’s ‘picture book’ with Japanese Manga and water-colour. Her works combine vulnerability and humour with her unique view of transnational identities and cross-cultural histories. After graduating she worked first for a leading architectural firm in Hokkaido and her research for the firm took her to Scandinavia, beginning a life-long love of travel to Italy and France and later to the United States.
For this exhibition Mieko Meguro reflects upon “matters of the heart” a phrase that is often applied to connect to our most intuitive and personal response to relationships and to things that matter to us at any given time often without pausing to analyse or explain our reasoning or immediate response. The heart is also said to affect our imagination and knowledge of the world, one that relies on a profound sense of knowing rather than empirical reasoning or perception.
Xavier Heart relates to her early upbringing when as a child Mieko attended a Catholic school where she became aware of the period in early Japan history when the Spanish Jesuit priest, Francis Xavier, colonised the island and deeply influenced Japanese culture and religious beliefs. The last words that Ignatius Loyola is purported to have said to Francis Xavier before he led an extensive mission to Asia in 1541, were “Go set all on fire”. He then embarked for India, and later, to Japan traveling with various companions including the Japanese samurai, Anjiro, who accompanied him to his home port on the Island of Kyushu, in 1549, the first Christian missionary in the country.
Portraits of the priest often depicted him with his eyes fixed upwards and an emblazoned red heart placed on the outside of his monastic attire. Xavier’s missionary efforts also brought the newly founded Jesuit Order, and the reformation of the Catholic Church, as well as bringing Xavier into contact with rulers of the period, Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Tokugawa Ieyasu. These encounters had a profound impact on Japanese domestic and international polices for the next 250 years.
Xavier Heart is, for the artist, therefore ” connected to both historical trauma, or doubt or problems of one’s belief”.
Of Icy Heart, Mieko Meguro has been quoted as saying “This is a ‘self portrait’ I struggle with this feeling. I feel that I might have icy heart and I have a fear that someone’s “icy heart” might scratch me.
The objects – icy hearts made of barbed wire paired white will be placed in the windows and and Xavier hearts made from red felt, around the hearths of Asia House to connect the duality of such matters of the heart for Mieko.
Mieko Meguro’s solo exhibitions, outside of Japan, include A&D Gallery in London who represents the artist in the UK. More recently her work was included in “Sweethearts” curated by the critic Kathy Battista, at the Pippi Houldsworth Gallery, London (2012). Her watercolours were also exhibited alongside Matt Mulligan, Michael Smith, William Wegman, and Ceal Floyer in “Drawings” curated by Dan Graham at Micheline Szwajcer Gallery, Antwerp-Looking Back/The 10th White Columns Annual – Selected by Matthew Higgs, Whaite Columns, New York, NY USA January 12 – February 20, 2016, The Home Show by Asad Raza, New York, NY USA December 2015, Galleria Massimo Minini Project Room Mieko Meguro, Dan Graham, 9 May 5 September 2015, – Know Wave, 278 Grand street, New York, NY, USA , August 21 – 29th, 2015 – Kate Harding, the Correspondence project at Sardine, 286 Stanhope St, Brooklyn, New York, USA, July 11 – August 2nd, 2015 – Works on Paper, Greene Naftali, 8th Floor Gallery, New York, NY, USA, May 15 – June 20, 2015 – We Are All Cats, Karma International, Zurich, Switzerland, April 18 -May 23, 2015 -Living Rooms, OLD ROOM, 675 Hudson Street, #4S, New York, NY, USA, February 7 – March 7, 2015-Soclal Photography IV, Carriage Trade @ Emily Harvey Foundation, 537 Broadway, 2nd Fl., NY, NY USA, November 12 – 22, 2014-Another cats show, 356 Mission / Ooga Booga, LA, CA, USA, August – September, 2014-We Are All Cats, 3A Gallery, New York, NY, USA, July – August, 2014-Eating Cultures, Asian American Women Artist Association, San Francisco, CA – April, 2014-Food Show 2, 3A Gallery, New York, NY, USA, March – April, 2014- Navigation and Destination, Brooklyn Fire Proof, Brooklyn, NY, USA, Jan 23, 2014-Some Woolly Buzz, Publication Studio, Vancouver, Canada, Dec 2013- Feb 2014-Social Photography Ⅲ , Carriage Trade New York, NY, USA Dec 2013- Jan 2014-5x5Castelló2013, Premi International d’Art Contemporani Diputació de Castelló, Spain, 25 Oct 2013-12 Jan 2014, -T-shirts; Taka Ishii Gallery Modern (Piramide Bldg, Roppongi), Tokyo, Japan, 2013-A Drawing Show; Curated by Dan Graham, Galerie Micheline Szwajcer, Antwerpen, Belgium June 2012